September 13, 2013

Dear Friends,


Here is the 27th issue of our weekly gardening newsletter for Houston, the Gulf Coast and beyond. This a project of The Lazy Gardener, Brenda Beust Smith, John Ferguson and Mark Bowen (both John and Mark are with Nature's Way Resources). We also have a great supporting cast of contributing writers and technical specialists who will chime in and tweak away regularly. We would love to keep receiving your input on this newsletter . . . . comments . . . . suggestions . . . . questions. . . .Email your thoughts to: Thanks so much for your interest.
Please  or sign yourself up to receive this newsletter by clicking the "Join Our Mailing List" link just below. We will never sell or share our mailing list to protect the privacy of our subscribers.



Folks always want to know what my yard looks like, so thought I'd just give you an overview shot.

Yeh, right!

Actually this is the Sunken Garden at Butchart Gardens just outside Victoria, British Columbia. It's mind-bogglingly beautiful. Think your yard is a challenge?  This used to be an old stone quarry!

True, Butchart has 55 full-time gardeners. But considering it covers 50 acres, that breaks down to only a little over one gardener per acre. Sort of brings it down to our level, doesn't it!

Folks said we were between peak periods (mid-August). That means, they said, we missed both the peak summer period and the peak fall period.

Not a problem! Quite honestly, I'm not sure my heart could have taken much more eye-poppin' color. 

Pictures speak louder than any words I can write, so here goes. Sit back and enjoy.

Specialty gardens abound (Italian, Japanese, Rose, etc.). But what really drew my eye was the skill with which the gardens were designed. Around every corner was yet-another "Kodak Moment."

It takes decades, perhaps centuries, to pull plant shapes, depths, colors, hardscapes all into such vignettes - and, of course, it doesn't hurt to have 55 full-time gardeners

A real thrill for me was seeing so many plants that, while we can grow them here, just don't reach the size and magnificence they do in colder climes.  Typical: dahlias, left and center, and fuchsias, right.


and getting ideas that - should energy-levels allow - would be fun to try in my garden.  Like this shrimp plant "tree"!

How to do this?  Shrimp plant stalks are so pliable, I'd try taking five to six, strip off the branchlets/leaves, and then braid them into a "stalk." This will have to be staked.  Continually strip off leaves/branchlets from the "trunk" portion. Allow the top to branch out.  Pinch off flower buds at first.  Once the top reaches the right dimensions (you'll have to keep pinch pruning the tips to force internal growth), then let it set flower buds. And you'll have to protect it in winter. Even though shrimps are one of our hardiest of perennials, this kind of manipulation will make it weaker. 

Anyone ever try it?  Just describing the process here is enough to turn me off.  But love to know if anyone tries it and how it turns out!

Meanwhile, back at the Butchart . . . naturally there are dozens of delightful, whimsical hardscapes:

But I bet it's safe to say that most Texas gardeners are NOT going to want at least one of their "creatures" around:

Yep, that's a wild hog. And that's my brother David and his wife Sara, sitting so close by. 

The reason the hog's nose is so shiny is because folks up there think it's fun or good luck or something to rub the snout. 


Obviously they don't have Texas' wild hog problem.  I hate to think what might happen to a statute of a wild hog here!

If you can, visit Butchart Gardens. They're a feast for the eyes, balm for the soul and guaranteed to send amateur and professional photographers into spasms of ecstasy.I had a ball shooting these and hundreds of other pictures. (David shot the white dahlias.)
NEXT WEEK: It's hard not to be overwhelmingly jealous when you see spectacular plants in ordinary folks' gardens. And that's what happened to me on Whidbey Island until . . . 

*   *   *
HEAR THE RADIO INTERVIEW WITH "JANE LONG" - MOTHER OF TEXAS (aka Helen Mooty, interviewed by Brenda Beust Smith):  
Click on "Archives"  
Click on "Open Journal-Community Spotlight"
Click on "August 27, 9:30 A.M."



Questions aimed at me can be emailed to (altho I'll get any you send to this newsletter as well). 
"THE LAZY GARDENER'S GUIDE ON CD" - Specifically for Houston Area gardens - WHAT TO DO EACH MONTH - when to fertilize, prune, plantwhat where, best plants for sun, shade, butterflies, hummingbirds,etc. Based on Brenda's quirky 40+ year Houston Chronicle Lazy Gardener column. PDF format, print out only the month you need.  $20 total, checks payable to Brenda B. Smith. Mail to: Lazy Gardener's Guide on CD, 14011Greenranch Dr., Houston, TX 77039-2103.

For correspondence that is specific to Brenda, feel free to email her directly at 



MULCH CORNER                  









Last week we looked at specialty plastic so this week we are going to review some of the research on plastic mulches.


Effects of Colors:


This is a new area of research that we are beginning to understand.  The color of mulch and other materials affects plant growth.  Research at Texas A&M University studied trees that were planted in paving bricks (pavers) of three different colors; a light (blond), medium (red-brown), and dark (charcoal).  The light and medium colored bricks reflected the most photo synthetically active (growth promoting) radiation.  The air temperature above the plants was less for the lighter colors as compared to the darker colors. In the fall and winter on sunny days the air temperature was as much as 35 degrees (Fahrenheit) higher, which could make the trees (plants) more susceptible to damage from sudden cold snaps. In addition, the darker the color the more root growth was decreased in the upper portions of the soil, which resulted in reduced growth above ground.  This effect was more pronounced in the shallow rooted species.


Genetic Effects:


The USDA has found that a plant's gene activity changes with the type of mulch applied and with the type fertilizer used.  Some of the research was done on tomato plants and they found at least 10 different genes were affected.  For example when an organic mulch like mown hairy vetch was used instead of black plastic, the tomato plants lived longer and developed less fungal disease.  When the organic vetch mulch was used, two genes for plant defense (immune system) and two genes for regulation of aging greatly increased their activity.  The researchers also found that fields mulched with mowed vetch receiving only half as much fertilizer produced larger yields than conventional plastic mulch fields with the full amount fertilizer. The fields mulched with mowed vetch also provided other benefits such as reduced erosion, decreased disease and the delays in plant aging. One of the genes studied produces chitinase (an enzyme that dissolves the walls of attacking fungi) along with osmontin (another defensive compound) and extra activity of receptors for cytokinins that regulate plant ageing. The mowed vetch mulched tomatoes more developed root systems that allowed for better nutrient absorption.


Note - many gardeners have reported that a one inch later of good compost and topped off with 4-5 inches of hay gave the best results  (increased yield and flavor).  Dried hay combined with compost would have similar properties to the mowed vetch hence the above research may explain part of their observations. 



September 14: Nacogdoches/Arcadia: Naked Ladies and Oxbloods: SFA Gardens Arcadian Fall Bulb Bus Tour, September 14.Visit Texas Gardener columnist Greg Grant's Emanis House dogtrot in Shelby County's rural community of Arcadia. Depending on the weather, see red oxblood lilies (Rhodophiala), several different colors of spider lilies (Lycoris), or assorted rain lilies (CooperiaZephyranthes, and Habranthus). Unfortunately their display depends on the first fall rains so a grand naturalized bulb display isn't guaranteed. Visit Grant's old family home with an open breezeway running through it, along with his small cottage garden, chickens, and bluebird houses. Dress comfortably for potentially hot weather. The bus tour will be from 9 a.m. until noon. All participants will meet at the SFA Ag building, Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacognoches, at 9 a.m. $25 for Friends of SFA Gardens members, $30 for non-members. For more information and reservations contact Elyce Rodwald at 936-468-1832 Other SFA Gardens events and information can be found at


September 14: Brazoria County Master Gardeners presents Citrus Tree Grafting Seminar & Workshop at the BEES Gardens, 585 CR 443, Angleton 77515.  9 a.m. - noon. Fee is $30/person and includes all supplies and tools for hands-on experience.  Instructor will be Master Gardener Herman Auer from Galveston CMGA. Advance registration and payment is required and the class is limited to the first 20 registrants.  Online form: or call the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Office at 979-864-1558 x 110.  Deadline for registering in September 13, by noon.

September 14: Montgomery County Master Gardeners are presenting an Aquaponics System Design & Operation Workshop 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday, September 14, at the Thomas LeRoy Education Center, 9020 Airport Road, Conroe. Aquaponics is the growing of plants in a symbiotic relationship with fish. Learn everything needed to set up and maintain a system; and by attending have the opportunity to win a system. Registration is $60 per person, due by September 6. Lunch provided. For the registration form or for more information, visit or call 936-539-7824.


September 14: "Growing Onions and Garlic," 9-11 a.m. Because fall is the ideal time to plant onions and garlic in our area, Galveston County Master Gardener Ken Steblein will be presenting a program on what you need to know to grow your own onions and garlic. Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office in Carbide Park, 4102 Main Street (FM 519), La Marque. For course reservations, call 281-534-3413, ext. 12 or 


September 14: "Kitchen Gardening,"1-3:30 p.m. Presented by Galveston County Master Gardener Mary Demeny, Mary will cover various techniques of vegetable gardening in your own backyard. She will include gardening near the back door, where Mary recycles, mulches and compost her garden. Mary will also cover how she makes use of an interplant technique of growing vegetables among the flower beds and in pots she has. Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office in Carbide Park, 4102 Main Street (FM 519), La Marque. For course reservations, call 281-534-3413, ext. 12 or email

September 14: 9 a.m.- 5 p.m., 
Honey Extractor Day with Lecture by John Berry at Wabash Antiques & Feed Store, $30. Looking for an efficient way to extract your honey? Sign up for a two-hour class to harvest your honey. Bring in your super and we will have uncapping and extracting equipment available. This is an economical solution for a small-scale beekeeper to harvest their honey without the expense of an extractor. Spectators are welcome. Space is limited, only 4 two-hour spots are available. Check out website to reserve your time slot. 


September 14-15: The Houston Cactus and Succulent Society Annual Show and Sale will take place at the West Gray Multi-Service Center, 1475 W. Gray St. Houston , TX . 77019.  Plant sales hours are 9 am to 5 pm Saturday and Sunday.  The show area opens at 10 am. There will be a wide variety of plants, including columnar and barrel cacti, Saguaro Cactus, Agaves, Aloes, Adeniums, Euphorbias, Sansevierias, Pachypodiums, Haworthias, Gasterias and Dyckias. Many plants are rare and will not be found anywhere else in the Houston area.

September 15: Organic Container Gardening. Don't have enough space to grow your favorite herbs and vegetables? Container Gardening may be your answer. Sun, Sept 152:30 - 4:30 pm $36 non-members. Wabash Feed, 5701 Washington Ave, Houston, TX 77007. For more info: 713-880-5540 or  
September 16: The Harris County Master Gardeners at Precinct 2 will host Open Garden Day at Genoa Friendship Garden, 1202 Genoa Red Bluff, Houston, on Monday, September 16, 8:30 a.m. - 11 a.m. Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer gardening questions and will present an educational program about container gardening 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 am. For more information, visit 
September 17: Planting the Fall Vegetable Garden (hands-on). What better way to gain expert knowledge than to see how it is done firsthand through our fall gardening course. Tue, Sept 176:00 - 8:30 pm$24 members. $36 non-members. Westbury Community Garden, 12601 Fonmeadow, 77035. For more info: 713-880-5540 or 

September 17th: The Mercer Arboretum & Botanic Gardens kicks off the Texas Gulf Coast Gardener classes this fall! Starting with the first gardening series: Tier-1: Basic Gardening- runs Sept.17th-Dec. 10th, Designed for beginner to intermediate level gardeners. The curriculum will include topics such as site development, plant selection, propagation, mulching and composting, lawn care and many others. Meets on Tuesdays. For more information, call 281-443-8731 or           


September 17: Heidi Sheesley of Treesearch Farm will give an advance look at plants that will be on sale Sept. 21 at the Sugar Land Garden Club Plants-a-Palooza sale. Heidi's free talk will be at 10 a.m. at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 702 Burney Road, Sugar Land. Details: 


September 18: Precinct 2 Harris County Master Gardeners event: at 10:00 am, Gudrun Opperman will speak on Shade Gardening. Gudrun is a Harris County Master Gardener and a Clinical Biologist. She has been a volunteering at Mercer Arboretum and Botanic Garden for twenty years.FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

Where: The Meeting Room at Clear Lake Park (on the lakeside), 5001 NASA Parkway, Seabrook, TX 77586. or 281 855 5600.

September 19th: December 12th: The Mercer Arboretum & Botanic Gardens is offering Tier-2: Landscape and Garden Plants. Topics focus on plants that can be successfully cultivated and utilized in the Texas Gulf Coast climate. Participants will learn about new and exciting plants to add to their collection while improving their horticultural skills. Meets on Thursdays. For more information or to register, call 281-443-8731 or email   


September 19:  Fall and Winter Vegetable Gardening presented by a team of Fort Bend Master Gardeners 

Master Gardeners will provide helpful and timely information on growing methods and proven crops for Fort Bend County.  The public is invited to this free program hosted by the Fort Bend County Master Gardeners at the Bud O'Shieles Community Center, 1330 Band Road in Rosenberg. Social at 6:30 pm; program from 7:00 - 8:00 pm. Call 281.633.7033 or visit 

September 20: Application deadline for The Fort Bend County Master Gardener Training class, a program offered by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service that begins on Wednesday, October 2, 2013.  Classes are Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9am - 3:30pm during the month of October.   The cost of the class is $200 ($353 for couples). 
For more information visit (under Become a Master Gardener) or you can call 281-633-7033 or 281-342-3034.   

September 21 - Plants-a-Palooza: A Plethora of Perfect Plants! Sugar Land Garden Club's 15th annual Garden Art and Plant Sale at Sugar Lakes Clubhouse, 930 Sugar Lakes Drive, 8:30am-1:00pm.  Garden art and other hand-crafted items.Heidi Sheesley of Treesearch Farms will be on hand to recommend plants and answer gardening questions.

September 21: Constructing the Home Fruit & Vegetable Garden (hands-on). This class is outdoors and is for anyone who wants to build a vegetable or fruit garden at their home. Saturday, September 21. 9-11:30 a.m. $24 Urban Harvest members. $36 non-members. Westbury Community Garden, 12601 Fonmeadow. For more information, call 713-880-5540 or visit 
September 21: "Grafting Workshop Using the T-Budding Method," 9-11 a.m. Galveston County Master Gardener Herman Auer, Propagation Specialist, will present a program and hands-on workshop on T-Bud grafting. Attendees will leave the class ready to begin their own grafting projects with confidence. The grafting method presented is used on many types of fruit and citrus trees usually about the size of a pencil. Class is limited to 24 participants and you must pre-register in order to attend. Other persons may attend for observation only. Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office in Carbide Park, 4102 Main Street (FM 519), La Marque. For course reservations, call 281-534-3413, ext. 12 or email 
September 21: Texas Gardening with Fall Flowers Clinic, 10:15 a.m. at both Cornelius Nursery locations, 1200 N. Dairy Ashford and 2233 S. Voss: Free.


September 21st, 8:30 a.m. - 12 p.m., Harris County - Texas A&M AgriLife Extension presents: Salsa in September, Location: Culinary Institute LeNotre, 7070 Allensby
Houston, TX 77022. For more information: phone: 281-855-5624 or email 

September 22: 1:30-3:30 p.m., Planting the Fall Garden, Lecture by Dianne Norman at Wabash Antiques & Feed Store, free. Fall is a great time to plant due to cooler temperatures. Learn how to prepare your vegetable garden beds and what to plant. Tips on what varieties of vegetables grow best in Houston and surrounding areas. Dianne will also introduce new container soils for herbs, vegetables and tropicals by Nature's Way. Questions are welcome. Instructor: Dianne Norman owns her own Wholesale Nursery, is a Texas Master Gardener and had one of the first Organic Subscription Farms in the Coastal area. For more info:

September 22 & 23: 7th Annual Farm and Food Leadership Conference. 
Where: Bastrop Convention and Exhibit Center. Times:  Sunday, September 22, 9 a.m. - 9 p.m & Monday, September 23, 8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. This unique conference focuses on the policies and regulations affecting our farms and our food. Hear top speakers on a variety of issues including genetically engineered foods, the politics of organics, the 2013 Farm Bill, FDA's food safety regulations, urban farming, raw milk, water, and so much more!

September 24: "The Fabulous Fragrant Frangipani (Plumeria)," Tuesday, September 24, 6:30-8 p.m. Presented by Galveston County Master Gardener Loretta Osteen, the program will include information on the history of the Plumeria and tips for growing and caring for them in Galveston County. Also included will be information about different flower shapes, fragrance and colors of the different varieties of Plumeria successfully grown in our area of South Texas. Incorporated in the presentation will be methods of propagation, proper winter storage and care. There will also be a demonstration on how to make the popular Plumeria Lei. Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office in Carbide Park, 4102 Main Street (FM 519), La Marque. For course reservations, call 281-534-3413, ext. 12 or


September 24th, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m., Harris County - Texas A&M AgriLife Extension presents:  Propagating Plants by Seeds, Cuttings, Layering & Dividing, location: Buchanan's Native Plants, 611 East 11th Street
Houston, for more information: phone: 281-855-5624 or email


September 26: Organic Pest Control. Come observe how one dynamic garden actively uses common plants to attract beneficial insects that will help your garden prosper. Thursday, September 26, 6:30-9 p.m. $24 Urban Harvest members. $36 non-members. University of Houston Main Campus, 4361 Wheeler St. Bldg & Room TBA. For more information, call 713-880-554 or


September 28: 9 a.m. to noon. Meet the experts and discover trends in water-wise gardening at Woodlands Landscaping Solutions, 8203 Millennium Forest Dr., The Woodlands. Booths and demonstrations spotlight water-saving methods, rainwater harvesting, drip irrigation, lawn care, vegetable and habitat gardening, easy care techniques and more! The plant sale offers heirloom bulbs; native and nearly perennials, shrubs and understory trees. Compost, compost bins, worms, garden gifts, and organic products will also be available for purchase.  Free event. For more information, call 210-210-3800 or visit


September 28-29: 8 a.m. - 4 p.m., Garden Faire & Fall Festival. Garden Faire is held on Mercer's west side at the picnic area. Kid's Korner provides families with free nature activities and crafts. The event features regional plant societies, local artists and crafts people who specialize in garden art. Garden-related arts and crafts and plants are available for purchase. There is no charge to attend and parking is free.


September 28: "Perennials for the Gulf Coast - Plant Sale Preview"9-11 a.m. Heidi Sheesley of Treesearch Farms will give a presentation highlighting the plants that will be available at the October 12th Galveston County Master Gardener Ornamental & Perennial Sale. Seminar will be held at the Wayne Johnson Community Center. Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office in Carbide Park, 4102 Main Street (FM 519), La Marque. For course reservations, call 281-534-3413, ext. 12 or email


September 28: Autumn Container Gardening -  at both Cornelius Nursery locations. Autumn Container Gardening Clinic, 10:15 a.m. at both Cornelius Nursery locations, 1200 N. Dairy Ashford and 2233 S. Voss: Free. Symbols of the Fall Harvest infuse new qualities into your container gardens. See an array of Fall flowers to refresh containers.  Utilize the natural beauty of Autumn blooms to inspire your spaces.  Get inspiring container gardening ideas and useful tips to enhance your Fall container displays.


September 29: Houston: Sustainable Living Through Permaculture 1: SLTP 1. The design principles of Permaculture (PC) are explained, observed and illustrated in a series of breakout sessions at a home and garden remodeled to reflect PC sustainability principles. Sunday, September 29. 2 - 6 p.m. $50. NE Loop Residence. Location to be provided to enrolled students. For more information, call 713-880-5540 or visit 

September 30 - October 1: Texas Fruit Conference, Bryan/Collage Station, 

Hosted by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Specialists-Monte Nesbitt, Larry Stein, Jim Kamas, Russ Wallace, Register Online: or by phone: (979) 845-2604.


October 2: The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service of Fort Bend County is accepting applications for the Fall 2013 Master Gardener Training Class.  The 4-week class will begin the morning of Wednesday, October 2, 2013, and will meet each Tuesday and Wednesday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. through October 30th.   Subjects include design planning, diseases, insects, soil, water conservation, trees, edible landscape, perennials and roses, Earth-KindŽ practices, and more.


October 2: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., Texas High Tunnel Conference, Bryan/College Station, hosted by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Specialists-Monte Nesbitt, Larry Stein, Jim Kamas, Russ Wallace, register online:  or by phone: (979) 845-2604.


October 4th: OHBA/Texas AgriLife Plant Health Workshop. Go to to see details and to register. All day lectures from Houston's' leading horticulture educators. $60.00 pp


October 4-5: Bulb & Plant Mart at Holly Hall Retirement Community, 2000 Holly Hall St. 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 4; 9:30 a.m. - 3 p.m. Oct. 5. New this year: a Garden Garage Sale of garden treasures.  Sponsored by the Garden Club of Houston. Details: 


October 5: Nacogdoches: The SFA Gardens at Stephen F. Austin State University

will host its annual Fabulous Fall Festival Plant Sale from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday, October 5, at the SFA Pineywoods Native Plant Center, 2900 Raguet St. in historic Nacogdoches. A wide variety of hard-to-find, "Texas tough" plants will be available, including Texas natives, heirlooms, tropicals, perennials, shrubs, trees, and exclusive Greg Grant and SFA introductions. Most of the plants are extensively trialed in the gardens before being offered to the public and most are produced by the SFA Gardens staff and volunteers. This popular event benefits the SFA Mast Arboretum, Pineywoods Native Plant Center, Ruby M. Mize Azalea Garden, Gayla Mize Garden, and educational programs hosted at the gardens. The educational programs at SFA Gardens reach more than 15,000 students ages 1 to 100 on a yearly basis. The public is encouraged to arrive early and bring a wagon. For more information, call (936) 468-4404, or visit two weeks before the sale for a list of available plants.

October 5-6: Spring Branch African Violet Club, Annual Fall Sale, West Gray Multiservice Center

1475 West Gray Street, Houston, Saturday, 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. and Sunday, 10:00a.m. - 3:00p.m.,

Free Admission, Violets of all types such as standards, miniatures, semi-miniatures, and trailers will be available.  Other Gesneriads such as Episcias and Streps and supplies such as potting soil, pots, and fertilizers will also be featured.  Club members will be available to answer general questions on growing African Violets.  For further information, contact Karla Ross, 281-748-8417,

Note:  This is our fall sale and does NOT include a show.


October 8th, 10 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., Harris County - Texas A&M AgriLife Extension presents: Growing and Cooking with Herbs, Location: Buchanan's Native Plants, 611 East 11th Street, Houston, for more information: phone: 281-855-5624 or email 


October 9: Montgomery County Master Gardeners will present "Landscaping with Texas Natives", 7-9 p.m., at the Thomas LeRoy Education Center, 9020 Airport Road, Conroe. "Landscape Design with Texas Natives" will be presented by Wm. Alan King, Registered Landscape Architect. "Why Choose Natives?" and "Native Alternatives" will be presented by Diana Foss, Texas Parks and Wildlife. Registration is $20 per person, due by October 1. Late Registration will be $25. Door prizes! Registration form and more information available at or by calling 936-539-7824.


October 10, 2013 at 7:30 p.m - 9:30 pm.  "A Vision of Roses...A vision of ARS"  will be the topic of the Houston Rose Society Meeting. Note new meeting location: the Parish Hall of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, 1819 Heights Blvd, Houston, Texas 77008.  Entrance to parking lot is on W 19th Street near Yale St.  Our speaker is Pat Shanley, the Vice President of The American Rose Society.  Free admission.


October 12: 2:00 p.m., Class/Workshop at Clown Alley Orchids, "Dividing and Mounting Plants", Lecture, Demonstration & Workshop. Each student will mount a free plant to take home. Tuition $25 includes the blooming size plant and mounting materials. Where: Clown Alley Orchids, 3119 Lily Street, Pasadena, 281-991-6841,


October 12: 10 a.m., The Calendar Garden Program: Natives for Fall with Mark Bowen. Mark is the General Manager of Nature's Way Resources and a native plant and organic specialist. He will be showing us some great natives to use for fall gardening.  Location: 30730 Old Hockley Rd. Magnolia*Counts as CE Hours for Master Gardeners. CLICK HERE to register now!


October15th, 10 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., Harris County - Texas A&M AgriLife Extension presents: Making Living Arrangements with Indoor Plants, Location: Buchanan's Native Plants, 611 East 11th Street

Houston, TX 77008, for more information: phone: 281-855-5624 or email

October 16: 10:00 a.m.,
Harris County Master Gardeners at Precinct 2 - 3rd Wednesday Lecture Series will present Gaye Hammond, Houston Rose Society as the speaker. She will be giving a "hands-on" rose propagation class. Free and open to the public. Clear Lake Park meeting room, (on the lakeside), 5001 Nasa Parkway, Seabrook Texas 77586. For more info: 281 855 5600 or


October 18th, 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.,  Harris County - Texas A&M AgriLife Extension presents: Juicing, Drying & Freezing, location: Culinary Institute LeNotre, 7070 Allensby

Houston, for more information: phone: 281-855-5624 or email

October 18-19 - 41st Annual Herb Fair, South Texas Unit, Herb Society of America, (new location) Bethany Christian Church, 3223 Westheimer, Houston. Oct. 18, 4-7pmOct. 19, 8am-1pm. Herb plants, herbal products, crafts, jellies, blends, books, garden supplies, etc. Free growing advice. Special classes: 9 a.m.: Lois Sutton & Pam Harris, "Sitting Pretty - Assembling Herbal Chairs" and 10:30 a.m.: Beth & Jim Murphy, "Small Space Herb Gardens featuring Containers, Sprouts and Propagation Tips."Proceeds benefit local and national herb gardens and education. 

October 19-20: Peckerwood Garden in Hempstead, TX, would like to let everyone know of their upcoming Fall Open Days. We will be open two weekends, October 19 & 20 and November 9 & 10. Plant sales are from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. Guided garden tours are at 1:00 & 3:00 pm. Tours are $10.00. The garden is not wheelchair accessible and please, no young children. The Garden is not a "wander at will" type location and is only available through the guided tours. Peckerwood Garden is located at 20571 Hwy. 359 in Hempstead, TX. The phone number is 979-826-3232 and e-mail We can also be found on Facebook.


October 21: 8:30 a.m.- 11:00 a.m. Harris County Master Gardeners at Precinct 2 will host Open Garden Day at their Genoa Friendship Garden, 1202 Genoa Red Bluff Rd., Houston, TX 77034. Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer your gardening questions.  Hours are 8:30 am - 11:00 am with a program on dividing Daylillies, Canna Lillies and Iris at 9:30 am.  Free and open to the public.  Children invited!  For more info: 281 855 5600 or


Oct 26th OHBA's 'OktOHBAfest'! OHBA's annual party that raises money for college scholarships. This year it is at Buffalo Brewery 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm. Coming in costume gets you a discount. Please go to to register and see details.  


November 1-3:  Antique Rose Emporium's 25th Annual Fall Festival of Roses. Free.  Programs: Nov. 1 - 11am, Propagation by Glenn Schroeter; 1pm, Grow Roses by Judy Barrett; 2:30pm, Psycho Lighting by Linda Lehmusvirta; 3:30pm, Afternoon Tea. Nov. 2 - 11am, Grandma's Garden by Greg Grant; 1pm, Lawn Gone by Pam Penick; 2:30pm, Bulbs by Chris Wiesinger; 4pm, Fearless Gardening 101 by Felder Rushing. Nov. 3 - Behind Scenes Tour by Mike Shoup. Details: 


November 9th, 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.,Harris County - Texas A&M AgriLife Extension presents: Jams & Jellies for the Holidays

Location: Culinary Institute LeNotre, 7070 Allensby, Houston, for more information: phone: 281-855-5624 or email

November 9-10: Peckerwood Garden in Hempstead, TX, Fall Open Days. Plant sales are from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. Guided garden tours are at 1:00 & 3:00 pm. Tours are $10.00. The garden is not wheelchair accessible and please, no young children. 

The Garden is only available through the guided tours. Peckerwood Garden is located at 20571 Hwy. 359 in Hempstead, TX. The phone number is 979-826-3232 and e-mail
Submit calendar items to Events must be submitted by the sponsoring organization. Please note: "garden calendar request" in the subject line. We list calendar items up to two months ahead of time.
Need speakers for your group?  Brenda's "Lazy Gardener's Speakers List" of area horticultural/environmental experts is available free for the asking. Email your request to:


                                             ABOUT US


. . . but Brenda Beust Smith is also:

   * a national award-winning writer & editor
   * a nationally-published writer & photographer 
   * a national horticultural speaker
   * a former Houston Chronicle reporter
When the Chronicle discontinued Brenda's 45-year-old Lazy Gardener" print column a couple of years ago, it ranked as the longest-running, continuously-published local newspaper column in the Greater Houston area.

Brenda's gradual sideways step from Chronicle reporter into gardening writing led first to an 18-year series of when-to-do-what Lazy Gardener Calendars, then to her Lazy Gardener's Guide book and now to her Lazy Gardener's Guide on CD (which retails for $20. However, $5 of every sale is returned to the sponsoring group at her speaking engagements).

A Harris County Master Gardener, Brenda has served on the boards of many Greater Houston area horticulture organizations and has hosted local radio and TV shows, most notably a 10+-year Lazy Gardener run on HoustonPBS (Ch. 8) and her call-in "EcoGardening" show on KPFT-FM. 

In addition to her position as Production Editor on the Garden Club of America's magazine and her freelance writing career, Brenda's latest venture is "THE LAZY GARDENER'S & FRIENDS HOUSTON GARDEN NEWSLETTER" with John Ferguson and Mark Bowen of Nature's Way Resources. 

A native of New Orleans and graduate of St. Agnes Academy and the University of Houston, Brenda lives in Aldine and is married to the now retired Aldine High School Coach Bill Smith. They have one son, Blake.

Regarding this newsletter, Brenda is the lead writer, originator of it and the daily inspiration for it. We so appreciate the way she has made gardening such a fun way to celebrate life together for such a long time.
John is a native Houstonian and has over 27 years of business experience. He owns Nature's Way Resources, a composting company that specializes in high quality compost, mulch, and soil mixes. He holds a MS degree in Physics and Geology and is a licensed Soil Scientist in Texas. 
John has won many awards in horticulture and environmental issues. He represents the composting industry on the Houston-Galveston Area Council for solid waste. His personal garden has been featured in several horticultural books and "Better Homes and Gardens" magazine. His business has been recognized in the Wall Street Journal for the quality and value of their products. He is a member of the Physics Honor Society and many other professional societies.  John is is the co-author of the book Organic Management for the Professional. 
For this newsletter, John contributes articles regularly and is responsible for publishing it.

Mark is a native Houstonian, a horticulturist and organic specialist with a background in garden design, land restoration and organic project management. He is currently the general manager of Nature's Way Resources. Mark is also the co-author of the book Habitat Gardening for Houston and Southeast Texas, the author of the book Naturalistic Landscaping for the Gulf Coast, co-author of the Bayou Planting Guide and contributing landscape designer for the book Landscaping Homes: Texas. 
With respect to this newsletter, Mark serves as the editor.

Pablo Hernandez is the special projects coordinator for Nature's Way Resources. His realm of responsibilities include: serving as a webmaster, IT support, technical problem solving/troubleshooting, metrics management, quality control, and he is a certified compost facility operator.
Pablo helps this newsletter happen from a technical support standpoint. 

Save 20%: Redeem this coupon for a big discount on Nature's Way Resources New "Color Mix" ( ). Please note: this offer is for bulk material (by the cubic yard) purchases by retail customers only at Nature's Way Resources, located at 101 Sherbrook Circle, Conroe TX.
Offer Expires: 09/22/13